Giants of Estvald
The western mountains are ruled over by the Giants. A country they call Estvald was seized control from the Dwarves nearly 500 years ago. It is filled with great mountain cities. It is actually an eastern extension of a larger giantish kingdom to the west where the Cloud Giants rule from their floating palaces.
The giants of Estvald rule over, the lesser giantish races of trolls, ettins, and ogres, and who are served by towns of orcs, half orcs, and humans. Estvald is run as a loose alliance of city-states, each city of giants being claimed by Hill, Stone, Frost, and Fire Giants, ruling a section of Estvald.
The Hill Giants, control the easternmost mountains along the coast. The coastal villages of Prolia pays tribute to the Hill Giants, who live in ten tribes numbering about 30 giants each.
The Frost Giants, of the northern reaches live in and around the fortress of Zara’dun. They number 60 and are led by a ruthless 8th level Blackguard Jarl, called Frondik. They command a tribe of 100 Ogres led by an Ogre Mage and supported by several dozen winter wolves. The bugbears, hobgoblins and goblins of the northern forests pay tribute to the frost giants.
The Fire Giants of the southern reaches, occupy a newly built volcano-side stronghold above the ruined dwarven city of Stron’dul. They number 45 and are joined by a tribe of 30 Trolls and a tribe of 20 Ettins, and command a pack of 30 Hell Hounds. They are led by a 6th level Cleric of Wikri (Fire). The rock gnomes pay tribute to the Fire Giants.
The Stone Giants, live in the inland reaches of Estvald, in the great fallen Dwarven city, of Quar’firk. The stone giants number around 200, and rule over no one but themselves. Thier elder leader is a 10th level Sorcerer.
All the mountain regions ruled by the giants are inhabited by several wandering tribes of Ogres, Trolls and Ettins. These tribes do not rule, but wander the mountains making their lives by hunting, and by taking tribute from the weaker humanoid races that inhabit the region.
Orcs, Half Orcs, and Humans are plentiful in the giantish lands, living in several scattered towns in the valleys of the mountain kingdom. They harvest timber, farm the land, and operate the mines. There is no racial hierarchy among the humanoids. Each such operation is run by a humanoids put into power by the ruling giant class.
Dwarves and other outsiders are unwelcome in giantish lands, although the occasional gnome may be found within the mountain kingdom. Humans of the giantish kingdom are fully integrated into giantish culture and have little in common and no sympathy for the human empires of the east.
The common languages spoken in the mountain kingdom are giantish and orcish.
Humanoids of The Northern Forest
The Northern Forest is far reaching and covers all the area north of the mountains of the west, west of the northern coastline, and south of the northern wastes. The near part of the forest is ruled over by a kingdom of hobgoblins. Goblins and kobolds also live in the area but are subservient to the hobgoblins. The hobgoblins pay tribute to the giants of the mountains in exchange for the right to trade with the giant kingdom. Most trade is timber going into the mountains and metal coming north.
There are rumors of a tribe of northern wood elves and of a tribe of northern humans beyond the hobgoblins, but no one has confirmed this.
Dragons are not-color coded based on alignment. Although there is correspondence between dragon color and ability. Red dragons are not more evil or chaotic than gold, in fact dragon scale color is not a species indicator, but rather a complex genetic trait.
Dragons are a powerful force in the world and are fairly numerous all over Alia. They ignore the politics of the humanoid races, rule over small fiefdoms (usually everything within a half days flight from their lair) and socialize, scheme and war mostly among their own kind. A dragon fiefdom may be found anywhere, is normally ruled by lord and lady dragon of at least “Old” age, and is inhabited by 5-20 relatives and liege-dragons.
Dragons commonly allow humanoid towns or villages, and nomadic people access to their lands for tribute. Usually tribute is in gold, sometimes in trade goods or craftwork, occasionally in livestock.
Some dragons are more involved in the affairs of lesser species, but usually limit their involvement to individuals, such as artists, crafters, researchers, or adventurers.
Humans of The Republic and the Empire
Humans comprise two great empires. The island empire of the north, called the Republic of the Isles, or more commonly, “The Republic”, and the continental empire of the south, the Empire of Rhode, or “Rhode”. The two empires are currently in a war that has lasted for more than 20 years.
See Empire of Rhode.
Humans and Half Orcs of Prolia
The northern coasts, “Prolia”, are inhabited by humans and half orcs, although they are more a loose collection of towns and villages more than a kingdom. These towns pay tribute to the giants of the mountains, but pre-date the giantish invasion. The orcish blood is new to Prolia however and has come about by the close ties with the giantish kingdom.
Elves of Shadow Wood
The Wood Elves of the South still rule the deep forest. Elves are not especially known for their magical aptitude, but rather for their affinity with nature. They are most commonly barbarians, rangers or druids. They are nomadic hunters and gatherers, living off the land and taking shelter among the trees. They have lost several tribes to the slave trade of the Rhode. They have no cities, but do have sacred glades where wandering tribes meet to trade, tell stories, meet potential mates and to celebrate events of religious or spiritual significance. They have little to no metal resources but trade with foreigners for bladed weapons which are prized. They are master crafters of wood, leather and stone. Most wood-elves are Barbarians. Leaders often have Druid levels.
High elves are elves who have long ago integrated into human society, they have retained some of their affinity for nature, but have lost some of the fortitude that a life in the forest brings. High elves are accepted by the Order of Man and by the Church of Man as near equals, and are fully integrated into human society. They are not subject to slavery in Rhode (if they have citizenship papers). In the Republic a few half high elves hold noble titles see Almost all half elves come from high elf ancestry, and there is some rumor that high elves, in fact have some distant human ancestry.
Mountain Dwarves may purchase magical items from their families at cost. but may need to wait for completion and delivery or may need to travel home to receive the goods.
Mountain Dwarves (Scattered and of Cragmore)
Dwarves are known for their lost empire of Krondheim in the mountains to the west. Their downfall to the might of the giants casts a shadow over all of them. The dwarves greatest desire as a people is to re-capture their lost days of glory. Most wish to fight back and recapture their ancient home. Many realise that the dwarves may need centuries to regain the might required to accomplish such a task. Dwarf women are very uncommon outside their communities. It is seen as their solemn duty to bear as many children as they can, while the men fight to carve a kingdom for themselves.
Dwarven men do not marry until they have proven themselves worthy. After recovering a great lost dwarven treasure or fighting and killing many giants, a dwarf will retire as a respected hero, take the title of thane, marry several young dwarf women, sire as many children as he can and start his own clan-like family. About 1 in 3 Dwarf men reach retirement, and about half of those are awarded the title Thane by the council of Thanes. Typically a Thane is a 10th to 15th level character, usually at least partly a fighter. Dwarves who retire and do not become Thanes are called Keepers are usually 5th to 9th level fighters and are greatly respected. Keepers guard Dwarven communities and see it as their duty to serve the Dwarven race by protecting the lives of their Thane and his children.
Dwarf women usually live cloistered lives. Leaving the dwarven community once to travel from their home, to the home of the Thane they are to marry and otherwise remain in the safety of their Thane’s halls. All Dwarven women train in battle, and frequently train as clerics of Umos.
Dwarf women are supportive of these social changes even though this was not the way of the old Dwarves. There are a few who refuse to live a cloistered life. Also, some who have proven to be infertile and have joined with the men in their quest. One famous rebel, who left to fight giants in the west, is the venerable “Thane” Griselda, who is responsible for the deaths of more than twenty giants, and who lives in a manor in Nolton with three aging Dwarven Keeper husbands. She bore 10 children in her childbearing years (more than average), two of whom have are well on their way of becoming Thanes in their own right. Although it is a break from their new tradition, most Dwarves grudgingly respect Griselda for her abilities and her accomplishments.
Cragmore is the largest dwarven community, and is located some 200 miles north of Nolton, and is home to 500 Thanes, 2000 Keepers and a population of about 25000 (and about 5000 Dwarf adventurers who call it home). Many smaller Dwarven communites are scattered throughout the northern empire, most are Clan-homes (Thanes and Keepers from the same family) with typically at least 100 dwarves in residence: 3 Thanes (10-14), 9 Keepers (6-9), 30 Wives (5 level 1, 10 level 2, 10 level 3, 5 level 4), 60 children/young adults, non-combatant). A typical Thane has at least 10 wives, each having several children).
A community such as this would support 20-30 adventuring dwarves with same level distribution as the wives. Typical activities in a clanhome include crafting of armor, weapons, and magic items for adventuring children. (Many Thanes and Keepers take up the mantle of Master Crafter after retirement.) Some agriculture and herding is done in dwarven communities, but the primary occupation is production of trade goods.
Dwarven Population Breakdown
1% Thanes 4% Keepers 15% Clanwives 20% Children 15% Unmarried Women 15% Married Women (elsewhere) 30% Unmarried Men
A typical residence will have 1 thane, 4 keepers, 15 wives, 10 boys, 10 girls, 15 unmarried women. It will support around 25 adventuring men, and will have about 15 married daughters who have joined other clans.
This distribution is an average. New clans will be smaller and will consist of only the thanes, keepers and clanwives and children. Clans that have been established carry on after the death of their Thane, with the wives re-marrying a newly annointed Thane.
About one in three Male Dwarves survive to retirement. One in five of those become Thanes.
Thanes, Keepers, Clanwives, Unmarried Men, and about half of Unmarried Women are considered to be combatants, or about half of the overall population and about a third of a clanhome.
Dwarves of the Depths
Many thousands of Dwarves have been enslaved by the southern empire, where they live at their slave-masters bidding. When the southern human empire captured their mountain home, Silverpeak 60 years ago, Dwarves swore vengeance on them. Many fled to the north, joining with their brethren in Cragmore, who welcomed them. Even in the north, Dwarves have little trust for humans. Others have decided to make their way down into the depths and have become Deep Dwarves.
Deep Dwarves are insolar and have abandoned their racial quest to recapture their lost halls in favour of starting anew in the depths of the earth. They tend to hate humans, and distrust surface dwellers of all kinds. They have no quarrel with Dwarves who have remained on the surface but have no desire to return. Deep Dwarves do not have many wives like the dwarves of the surface, but have returned to their more traditional ways. They do not send out their sons to prove themselves, but rather, all fight side by side protecting the family.
Gnomes have two separate ancestries, Wood Gnomes who come from the north west part of the Shadow Wood, and Rock Gnomes who come from the foothills near Estvald.
Rock Gnomes of Greenhill
When the dwarven empire fell to the giants, the Rock Gnomes fought along side the dwarves. After the dwarven halls fell, the Rock Gnomes decided to make peace with the giants and to pay tribute to them. The remaining dwarves, who had nowhere to rally were forced to flee into human lands where they settled at Silver Peak and Cragmore. Although the Dwarves were incensed with the Gnomes after their betrayal, the years have softened their hearts and Dwarves have forgiven the Rock Gnomes surrender.
The Rock Gnomes have paid tribute to the giants since then and since it’s fall, their kingdom has stagnated – no longer the great center of learning and magical research that it was. Greenhill is now quite insular against outsiders and the Rock Gnomes of Greenhill have been integrated into the Giant’s mountain kingdom.
Wood Gnomes of Shadow Wood
Some Gnomes have settled the western edge of the Shadow Wood south of Greenhill and east of the mountains of Estvald, fleeing the rule of the Giants. The have brought their civilization into the Shadow Wood and have lived there for more than 200 years in harmony with nature and the Wood Elves who live there.
Recently the wood gnomes have lost thier communities near the edge of the Shadow Wood to the expansion of the southern empire. Some were enslaved, some fled to the north, others fled deeper into the forests and joined with the wood elves, a few traveled to the kingdom of the Rock Gnomes. More than half the Wood Gnome villages have been conquered as of OY 603.
Gnomes of the Depths
Given the choice between slavery by the Empire in the south or service to the giants in Greenhill, some Gnomes have chosed to joinen the Deep Dwarves in their colonization of the depths. The Deep Gnomes, like the Grey Dwarves do not differ significantly from their surface brethren, with one exception. They are adapting to the dark and have gained limited Darkvision.
Few know it, but the gentle, rural halfling folk of the land were once a fierce and strong empire covering the western part of the Empire of Rhode. They were nomadic barbarians that ruled the plains, riding on fierce riding dogs trained for war. Much of the old ways are lost to the halflings who now mostly exist in scattered enclaves throughout the Republic, and as slaves in Rhode. Many halflings are Golonites. Three halfling towns still exist in Rhode within Dragon fiefdoms.